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January 6, 2007 12:03 AM

Broken: Microsoft Excel "Help" for removing hyperlinks

RemovehyperlinksAlexa Weber Andrzejewski writes in:

I've been battling hyperlinks in my Microsoft Excel documents (because in Excel, entirely blank cells and black text that does not look like a link can remain or become hyperlinked accidentally) and decided to search the Help documentation.

For removing a single hyperlink, you can right click and say "Remove Hyperlink" (which in some cases requires mousing over to actually locate the cells where your pointer becomes a hand, but it's a pretty reasonable method otherwise.) But to remove ALL the hyperlinks? Help says...

1. Type the number 1 in a blank cell, and right-click the cell.        
2. Click Copy on the shortcut menu.        
3. While pressing CTRL, select each hyperlink you want to deactivate.        
4. Click Paste Special on the Edit Menu.        
5. Under "Operation" click Multiply and then click OK.

What? First, this still requires finding and clicking on all the hyperlinks (just doing it to the entire spreadsheet doesn't work, and worse, makes a mess of some cells). But what really peeves me is that official Help documentation should have to contain hacks!

If it occurred to someone at Microsoft that this might be something users would want to do, why not fix the experience?

Of course you could always buy a $20 piece of software to do it for you: Excel Remove Hyperlinks Software 7.0.


This is Microsoft, plain and simple. They're not known for products that work smoothly or even at all. Anyone remember Windows ME? If you really want a program that works, use Open Office or any other free software. You'll have plenty of time to get adjusted to it while Microsuck takes its time in finding the problem, and maybe they'll fix it in another version and charge you more money for it.

Posted by: mussorgsky112 at January 6, 2007 08:01 AM

Even stranger, I'm pretty sure there's a better solution. Try this:

1) Edit > Select All

2) Edit > Copy

3) Open a new blank worksheet

4) Edit > Paste Special

5) Choose "Values"

6) Click OK

You'll lose formatting and column widths, too, but those may be much easier to restore those than to remove the hyperlinks one by one.

Also, it takes only a few lines of VBA code to solve this problem, and I'll post the code here if anybody cares.

None of which makes this any less broken, of course.

Posted by: stoo at January 6, 2007 09:39 AM

Mussorgsky, OpenOffice is far from as featured as Excel. There are a lot of things that it doesn't do as well, or even at all. Example, it can't handle worksheets that are just a chart. As for the hyperlinks, you haven't actually said whether OO can do it. And I'd assume the capability to remove all hyperlinks isn't a big priority for MS, so they just put a hack into the documentation and left it at that. What IS broken is that there's a better way.

Posted by: Fuzzy at January 6, 2007 06:22 PM

stop, I'm pretty sure that method will only copy the *values* in the worksheet - any formulas used in the sheet will be replaced with static values, which would negate the purpose of a spreadsheet in the first place. :/

Posted by: Ciaran at January 7, 2007 09:14 AM

Ciaran's right, of course, and I should've made it clear that pasting values will remove formulae from the spreadsheet. Whether that negates the purpose of the spreadsheet or not depends on its purpose, though.

Anyhow, the VBA solution doesn't cause that problem and is very fast and easy.

Posted by: stoo at January 7, 2007 11:10 AM

"Of course you could always buy a $20 piece of software to do it for you: Excel Remove Hyperlinks Software 7.0."

There is a free software called asap utilities that plugins to excel and will do all this for you.

Posted by: GreyMorsel at January 7, 2007 01:58 PM

You can also write a macro in VBA to correct it automatically, and maybe they should include that example macro in a example macros file with the next update.

Posted by: zzo38 at January 28, 2007 03:24 AM

This is a FREE library of some awesome and amazing excel tools (including one to remove hyperlinks).

Download this and learn how to use it... your life will be much better for it.

Posted by: pireland at February 10, 2007 09:22 PM

The software is not actually $20, it's $19.82... huh?

Posted by: savmac at February 20, 2007 12:50 AM

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